Another Lovely Evening With the Morris Animal Foundation and One Eyed Jack

05.9.14

Sunday night my friends at the Morris Animal Foundation invited me to join them as the Paul Mitchell School Foundation presented them with a check. I wasn’t really sure how to talk about the relationship between the two so I asked my friend Scott Koskoski, the Director of Major Gifts & Planned Giving for Morris what he’d like my readers to know and he said:

Morris Animal Foundation has been a grateful recipient of funds raised by the Paul Mitchell School’s gala for five years now, totaling $470,000. We are really lucky to work with amazing corporate partners throughout the country who throw fun and cool fund-raising events, galas, walks, etc. for us because they love animals and our mission of helping them stay healthy.

But by far the most important talking point of the night was: Will he or won’t he? As in, buy the Clippers.

And Scott is right about everything. The Paul Mitchell School Gala is fabulous (and don’t even think about going there without your hair done perfectly). Being in a room with hundreds of people who are excited about giving is an experience everyone should have. The tickets are pricey but they’re so much cheaper (and better) than therapy. Five days later I’m still smiling when I think about the evening. Okay, also laughing.

L to R: Marsha Collier, me, Christina Simon

L to R: Marsha Collier, me, Christina Simon

boob grab marsha collier

We had a few drinks.

Fran Drescher was stunning and funny as emcee and Marie Osmond was oddly weepy while accepting her donation and then revealed that it was her late son’s birthday. We all sighed and admired her strength.

As for, “Will he or won’t he?” we witnessed a truly remarkable moment. Magic Johnson (who has given to Los Angeles in ways that few men have) accepted a check on behalf of his foundation and talked about HIV medicine, research, access and the cost of treatment. Then he asked the crowd if he should buy the Clippers. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that you couldn’t hear the person next to you because the whole room was on their feet clapping and screaming.

I don’t know that I could say that the excitement was 100% about buying the Clippers. I think that in part the room reacted to the notion that a good guy would take the helm of an LA team. Everyone wants to support the players but Donald Sterling is despicable where Magic Johnson offers hope, humility and rebuilding. He’s invested in South Central Los Angeles, notoriously poor, minority and dangerous, bringing jobs and commerce where before there was only blight. It would be wonderful if he bought the Clippers but just the discussion was enough to have a room full of people celebrating.

Will he or won’t he? I can’t wait to find out.

It’s interesting timing to be hanging out with the folks from Morris Animal Foundation because they’ve funded a great deal of research that benefits both pets and livestock and just this week my heart was stolen by this guy.

one eyed dog

It’s a long story but in it’s essence Alexander has been asking for a pet of his own and since he asks for next to nothing and I’m a softy I’ve begun looking for a non puppy, non senior, non swimming dog. I ended up at a rescue organization looking for a different pet and was stuck on this guy. Just stuck.

He’s weird looking and a little bit overweight but his ears feel like silk and he’s sweet to Junior and my kids. We went back for a second visit. I’m weird and could also lose 2-3 pounds and I’m sweet to Junior and my kids so this dog and I have a lot in common. If we can get him.

You see I found him Wednesday, which was the same day Mr. G returned home from a business trip. Atypically he was home in the afternoon when the kids get in from school.

I asked him to pick up Alexander and I went to fetch Jane. When she got in the car I showed her pictures of the one eyed dog and told her a bit about his personality. I told Jane that Daddy had been traveling all day and hadn’t slept the night before and asked her to please not mention the dog. Today would not be a good day for it.

Jane did not listen.

We came home and the guys were already here. Jane immediately grabbed my phone, showed this picture to Alexander and declared (in front of her father), “Alexander look! Mommy found a dog and he’s just perfect even though he only has one eye.”

Alexander said, “Just like me.” And I melted because Alexander has two eyes that work very well but almost didn’t. We spent 9 years patching his eye anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day.

Overtired and cranky Mr. G responded exactly as I thought he would, “I work my ass off to give you everything. What do I have to do to get a dog with two eyes and four legs around here?”

Even though it was kind of funny no one laughed. It seemed that there would be no dog for us and it was definitely the wrong time to mention that the dog had been hit by a car and left for dead so he has a plate in his femur.

I’m persistent and Mr. G has been my best friend for 19 years so I do know a thing or two about how to talk to him. I Shushed the kids and didn’t mention the dog for the remainder of the evening. Well, until about 9pm anyhow. That’s when I mentioned the dog’s personality, how he didn’t bark at all – which is odd for a dog in a kennel setting – how he was playful but tired after 5 minutes of chasing balls and how affectionate he is. When Mr. G didn’t yell no I knew I had a foot in the door. Half an hour later I asked him if he’d like to sign the adoption application or if I should forge his name.

“Forge it.” He said.

Game. Set. Match.

Of course nothing is ever really that easy. Thursday afternoon I took the kids and Junior to meet the dog and it went better than I could have hoped for. The dogs got along and the kids were swooning. Today when I called to follow up and ask for a home visit they let me know that another family has a home visit with him tomorrow and might be adopting him. I’ve also had three different answers from the rescue about how he lost his eye and two different answers about why the other home visits haven’t panned out.

I don’t know if this guy is the dog for me. I want him to be and I really don’t want to take my kids on an emotional roller coaster but we’re going to find out more this week. The kids want to name his Captain or Marley. I want to call him Jack because everyone should have a One Eyed Jack in their home.

Someone will. I hope it’s us.

Dogs and Families

01.4.14

I wasn’t really sure how to write about this so I figured embedding the facebook update would be the easiest way to begin.

We returned from Costa Rica New Year’s Day (a trip I plan to write about in detail because it was spectacular) and in the Costa Rican Rainforest a particular sort of tree grows and it’s bark makes the sweetest cinnamon. Naturally the kids and I smelled it through the sealed plastic and decided that if we bought some for Granny she’d make us Snickerdoodles. It is the one and only souvenir we bought in Costa Rica. We are a pragmatic bunch.

In keeping with my general pragmatism and excitement for what comes out of my mother’s kitchen as soon as we landed I texted her to ask if they’d come to my house for dinner. My plan was to bring in Versailles and ask Mom to bring a salad. Her salads are my favorite.

This happened.

text from mom

So as I’m waiting for my Uber car I walk away from my family who are curbside at LAX and I’m trying to avoid the noise and the smokers and the oversized baggage carts because I don’t know what’s wrong at my Mom’s house but I know that something is wrong or she wouldn’t care about speaker phone.

And then she’s crying and I hear, “Lulu was killed.” And I can’t quote much else because I was fighting waves of lightheadedness and nausea and trying to imagine how the world’s most docile dog would meet a gruesome end. And my mom told me. The details are horrible so I won’t share them but my Stepfather was bitten and injured by a 145 pound mastiff and a husky who… well I’m skipping the details because they aren’t mine to share. But he was bitten and significantly injured while Lulu, a 22 pound terrier, was killed.

They came for dinner and I didn’t bring in Versailles. I made chicken and asparagus with potatoes and I made a salad too. My salads aren’t as good as my mother’s. It seemed fitting to have a mediocre salad but it felt really good to have my family under one roof. I needed to see them and they needed to snuggle our cat and dog. We all just sort of met each other’s needs.

I’ve spent most of the last two days answering phone calls and emails from friends who love both people and dogs. I have learned a lot of things:

Mace is a name brand and not an actual product. It’s tear gas and not what you’ll  want to have on hand. Pepper spray is the best thing to have on hand when you’re walking a dog because it temporarily blinds people and animals and causes swelling around the mouth, nose and throat. As a general defense product it’s effective when used on drugged people too.

Dog rescues routinely take dogs that have bitten, rehabilitate and rehome them. I have given my last dollar to rescues that rehome aggressive dogs in Los Angeles (or anywhere really).

It can take months to years to find a healthy Wire Hair Terrier in Southern California. This adds to the tragedy because a new dog would be a nice step for my family. It’s hard to wait that long for a happy step.

There’s more here but Lulu wasn’t my dog so she’s only partly my loss. Naturally we’re all concerned for my stepfather who was physically hurt and now emotionally tormented by two animals who were improperly cared for. We’re all sad and stunned and acting like freaks when we walk Junior.

I didn’t know how to start this post and I certainly don’t know how to end it. This is from my Mom’s instagram.

I Could Have Bought 25 New Dogs for that Price

06.20.13

That I love Junior goes without saying. He’s sitting on my right foot at the moment because he’s a little codependent and when you work from home dogs end up expecting even more from you. Unlike humans I enjoy Junior’s neediness, he’s like a little baby that snuggles but doesn’t require diapers or sleepless nights. He specializes in adorableness.

Junior the poodle

I’ve made some mistakes with Junior, the biggest one being dental care. I just didn’t bring Junior in for a scraping every year. I was busy doing things like, oh I dunno…. running a household and raising two children. Unfortunately Junior paid the price for that in pain and I paid the price in cash. I knew I was going to write about canine dental care today so I called the vet and asked them to fax over (they don’t email) some of Junior’s bills.

I could have bought 25 dogs for the price of two dental emergencies.

vet dental work bill

vet 2

And yeah, I microchipped Junior for no apparent reason. Understand that if I hold his leash he walks next me. Let’s face it, that dog is going nowhere solo, I spent $70 extra because I was swimming in guilt.

So after all this work the vet was super sweet to me and explained that little dogs can have more severe dental issues than big ones because when they scrape their teeth if there’s any decay the tooth will sometimes just break apart. To be fair their version of kindness didn’t leave me feeling better but they did their best. I’d ignored the first five years of his dental care and these enormous bills were indicators of how much pain my sweet dog had to experience.

In addition to getting junior to the vet for cleanings every 9 months or so he now gets treats to help maintain his teeth. I’d walked past those things for years not understanding that for a few dollars a month Junior’s teeth could have been getting cleaned with treats. The folks at Vet IQ sent some Minties for Junior to sample and he (predictably) loves them. Oh also, Junior is wheat and grain free and Minties are too.

An added bonus with Minties is that they use natural breath fresheners so Junior no longer smells like an animal that spends a good bit of his day licking himself. There’s something about the density and shape of Minties that cleans Junior’s teeth while he chews. Also I was looking at ingredients and Minties includes chlorophyll, parsley, dill, peppermint oil and fennel… am I the only person who seems to remember these ingredients being in Breath Assure (which frankly some humans around me could use). 

Since Junior loved Minties enough to dance I’ve arranged for a giveaway from VetIQ where one lucky reader will get a prize pack of at least $100 of VetIQ products, everything they make is veterinary quality made in America. I know our house could use some VetGuard this time of year to keep the fleas away.

Entering is easy, good luck! Your pets will thank you and so will your wallet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Only in Beverly Hills: Blueberry Facial Scrub for Your Dog

04.4.13

There really isn’t much to say about this one.

Beverly Hills facials for dogs

She Just Wasn’t My Dog but Jane is 100% My Daughter

06.27.12

canal in tempe arizona near aunt cheladas

Today was the first day of actual volleyball (don’t even ask me why I had to leave my house before dawn on Monday) so we scheduled a dinner on the hotel property. We thought driving the kids around Tempe might be a little bit much.

When you walk from The Grand to Aunt Cheladas (could I make that name up?) there’s a golf course to cross and then a tiny bridge over a manmade canal. The girls were walking ahead of me and I was hanging back to have a much needed phone call with my husband (whom I am officially missing terribly) when I noticed my daughter veering off from the path to the restaurant and running next to the canal.

“There’s a dog in the river!” She was upset and running alongside it. The dog was paddling and being taken downstream. As Jane was running and sweet talking the dog would turn toward her and try to climb the concrete embankment and just as quickly fall back in. She had a square head like a hound dog or a Catahoula Cur but her torso was spotted like an Australian Shepherd. The girls thought she looked very thin and I thought she looked strong and lean like a hunting dog ought to.

I sent a half dozen girls back to join the others at the restaurant while Jane and I followed the dog downstream. There was a dam of sorts, like a screen meant to gather trash perhaps, and the dog was able to climb it and pull herself out of the river without injuring herself.

She was magnificent and afraid. She was as large as any Catahoula I’d ever seen and I thought I’d pegged her breed until I saw her tail. It was thick and long like a raccoon, soaking wet it was thicker than her legs.

She shook herself off and then ran off toward the highway where she finally settled down in the dirt and watched the cars go by.

Jane was convinced there was another dog in the tunnel. I offered to call 911 knowing full well there was no other dog and if there was we couldn’t possibly save it. I called fake 911 but accidentally dialed 911 and promptly hung up.

Remarkably someone from the Maricopa county 911 system called me back. I explained the dog dilemma and they put me through to a phone tree for animal control. I hung up.

I convinced Jane to go join her group at Aunt Cheladas and we both walked back there feeling horrible about the giant dog at the side of the road. She sat with her friends and I sat with the moms and when I recounted the entire experience to the other chaperone I ended the very short story with, “and I’m not sure if she’s my dog.”

“What would you do if she is your dog?” My co-chaperone asked.

“I suppose I’d ditch the plane tickets, rent a car and drive the three of us home.”

I left the restaurant through the front door and walked down the Arizona highway where my maybe dog was still resting. When I got close to her I whistled a bit and watched for her for any shows of aggression. I got to within 20 feet of her and she leapt to her feet and began walking across eight lanes of traffic. My heart raced and I screamed while cars braked to avoid her, she galloped past them taller than I’d imagined and easily visible to sedan and SUV drivers alike.

She wasn’t my dog and I tried to not cry but still a tear escaped.

I turned to walk back to the restaurant and looked on in horror as I saw my daughter standing next to the canal watching me and the dog who wasn’t mine.